After a Fashion

PORTFOLIO COLLECTIONS Most fashion shows wind up being an hour late, and then it's all over in 20 minutes. The UT Fashion Group's annual show, last Thursday, April 6, at the Erwin Center, was an exception. That the show was being staged in the main arena, and going to be an hour and a half long was a surprise, but it was a fast-paced hour and a half -- and as entertaining an affair as an evening of fashion should be. Mingled with some interesting dance numbers, it was a wonderful show chock-full of great production values. The venue itself was fabulous, with great lights and sound, and a sizable runway that truly allowed the volunteer models to strut their stuff -- when they knew how.

Among the most notable students, Patty Yoon won the award for Most Creative. She has a stylist's eye and a love of evening fabrics. Amy Turnbull opened the show with a perfectly tailored Joan Crawford suit, and for her many entries, she won the Best of Show award given at the end. Her understanding of how every element of design works together produced admirable, and even impressive, results. Her perfection in patternmaking, construction, and finishing was evident from quite a distance. I particularly loved Lana Wharry's menswear. It's creative and stylish while still taking a path of its own through the dreary world of men's fashion. What the world needs most are good menswear designers, and the men fearless enough to wear something different. And while we're on that subject, let's talk about junior design student Bert Marckwardt. He has "an eye," as they say, and his clothes definitely have "a look," and he clearly worships at the altar of Alexander McQueen; Marckwardt even resembles him, and, like McQueen, likes to break the rules. The difference is that McQueen knows the rules and how to successfully break them, and that's where Marckwardt (hon, we have to do something with that name) can learn from him. And then Mr. Marckwardt's designs will achieve the patina of professional design, and his strange visions of beauty will flourish and receive the attention they deserve. Chelan Reynolds had a couple dozen entries in the show -- she is prolific with a wide range of interests in dressing. She will do well to work under tutelage of a few expert dressmakers to help her hone her skills and interests -- she clearly already has the passion and desire. Ninfa DeLeon has a sense of originality in cut and styling that creates a look that is uniquely her own. She won a special award for her use of cotton fabrics and shows an excellent grasp of patternmaking. The kidswear section was very cute -- but as a veteran of a zillion shows, I can tell you that the moment you put a cute kid or a dog on the runway, no one pays attention to the clothes.

THE PRESS RELEASE Another nightclub fashion show Tuesday, April 18, at The Atomic Cafe, sounds like a riot -- but with the reputation of the club's bouncers, the only fashion you'd better wear is armor. The show, on Tuesday night at 11-11:30pm (on a school night? Please, I'm too old to go out that late!), promises a night of "fashion, fetish, dance, and live music." Via a cryptic press release with very creative punctuation and spelling, we can presume there will be three fashion segments, each followed by a fetish performance accompanied by live music. First, we will see fashion from Buffalo Exchange, offering "an array of post-modern clothing of vintage intermingled with present day wear, for any man or woman with taste for diverse, sub-cultured lifestyle." The second slot appears to be the most entertaining, with a grandiose description heralding the appearance of "vibrant student designer" Levi Palmer. And I must quote (sic) the press release for you here:

"This collection takes old patterns and fabrics into the future and untraditional materials into a elegant yet wearable industrial/gothic realm. Levi (LEVITICUS) Palmer at this early stage of life will only blossom more so into a grand designer of his time. The expierance to see this will be a preview of fashion magazines to come a few years from now. For men and women who appreciate diverse fashion, androgyny, and cross wearable clothing, this show will intrest you. Designers such as Jean-Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, Vivian Westwood, and Betsy Johnson would have to agree. See the light and join the tribe of Levi ..." (sic)

The third segment is by Forbidden Fruit, and we know what wicked delights we can expect from them. So, consider yourself informed. And forewarned.

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